The number of U.S. motor vehicle deaths in the first six months of 2019 was 18,580 as compared to 19,060 for the same six-month period in 2018 — representing a 3% decline and a continuing downward trend, according to a preliminary estimate from the National Safety Council.
The Council notes that the four-year upward trend in traffic fatalities that began in 2015 appears to be ebbing. For three consecutive years roadway deaths topped 40,000 annually for the first time since the mid-2000s. Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 118, 315 people lost their lives on the nation's roadways. An additional estimated 40,000 were killed in crashes in 2018.
The latest data suggests a "slight improvement" nationally, according to the council. However, the early estimates also point to significant improvement in select states.
For example, in the first six months of 2019 fatalities decreased by more than 17% in seven states. These include Vermont (58%), South Dakota (49%), Connecticut (25%), Nevada (22%), New Hampshire (21%), District of Columbia (20%) and Oklahoma (18%).
States that experienced at least a 10% drop in motor vehicle deaths include Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Utah.